Getting Stronger

I used to think that ever since I was about five years old that I had a whole colony of fans that wanted to be just like me. But in reality, I am the outcast. The isolated one. The victim. The victim of the hurtful words spewed at me. The victim of physical abuse. The victim of bullying.

I am Katrina Winston. I used to live a good life. I was that student in elementary school who always had my hand in the air, making it tingle. I used to help the girls and boys who did not understand the concepts of adding and subtracting. It is different now. Extremely different. I eat lunch on the stairs instead of the cafeteria. I sit by myself when I am in class. I walk home alone in the rain while I watch people from my school driving by in their cars or walking under an umbrella. None of them offer me a ride or to share the umbrella’s shelter. I have been called so many things. I have been called a slut, ugly, a lesbian, fat, a loner. Yet, I have never been called pretty, sweet, funny, or skinny. They never took the chance to get to know me. So what did I do to deserve this?

They are the reason why I have scabs on my wrist, that I have red marks on my neck. They make me feel insecure, like I am not worth it. But really, I am the same as them. We are all equal. But yet they find a way to make me feel like dirt. They have found ways to break me and make me cry. They say every tear has its own story, but every tear I have shed is because of this torment. They all share the same story.

Today I walked into school in a worn out hoodie. I had my canvas book bag slung over my right shoulder. Abnormally, people paid no attention to me as I walked past them to get to my locker. I put in my combination. 29-3-29. The door popped open. Inside hung a dead fish on a hook. Underneath it was my writing journal, soaked with the juices that came from the marine animal. My whole locker smelled disgusting. Then, noises grew. I knew something was up from the minute I walked into the school. I turned my head to the right slowly. People’s faces were plastered with smiles and their laughter spilled out from their mouths. I looked to my left. People were pointing at me and grabbing their sides. I looked back at the fish. I took it by its tail and off the hook. I turned around and scanned the crowd. Nobody saw what I was doing, as they were too busy giggling. I spotted Liz and Stacy, two popular girls who “ran” the school. I slammed my locker forcefully. Everybody kept laughing. I threw the fish in front of the two girls. Everyone grew still and quiet. Liz looked down and her face grew red. Stacy’s hands were next to her face, which held a sense of disbelief and shock. Both of them looked up at me. I gave them a smirk and walked through the barrier of people that surrounded me. As I walked, I could hear the shrieks of the two girls. Something strange rose in me. Something I felt when I was younger. And that was when I knew that I had gained something. Or maybe a couple of things. I had gained strength and courage; things I had longed for such a great amount of time. And now they were here, with me.

I walked back to my locker. The group of people still stood near it, laughing at Liz and Stacy. The two ran past me and into the girls’ bathroom. I unlocked my locker and grabbed my journal. It was damp and had a salty smell to it. I opened the composition notebook. The ink words were a bit smudged. I turned the pages carefully, making sure not to rip the delicate paper. My words and feelings were still in the book, however, they were not in me anymore. I closed my locker and threw away the journal.

When I got home, I got another notebook. I opened the book. The crisp new pages rustled as I flipped through them. They were smooth and white. I looked at the cover. I grabbed a black Sharpie from my pencil holder. I uncapped it and thought about what I should call it. Then suddenly, it hit me. I scribbled six words in the box. It read “The Journal of a Former Victim.”

I sat in my beanbag chair, which was stained with eye makeup. I sank into its comfort and reached for my special writing pen. I turned to the front page and wrote, “Introduction.” Then the next words I scribbled were, “I used to think that ever since I was about five years old that I had a whole colony of fans that wanted to be just like me.”

Tracy Chan, Age 13, Grade 8, Mark Twain I.S. 239 for the Gifted and Talented, Silver Key

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